March 8th – Stoney Knoll Story and the Day of Departure

In Laird, Saskatchewan, representatives of local Indigenous, Lutheran and Mennonite communities welcomed the walkers to St. John Lutheran church to share about their mutual history and their efforts to heal wrongs of the past.

In the 1880s, the land of the Young Chippewayan First Nation was sold out from underneath their feet to Mennonite settlers. At a later point, Lutheran settlers moved in as well. The Young Chippewayan First Nation became a landless band and eventually its members were scattered. In the 1980s, two of their descendants initiated conversations with the settler communities – stating they did not intend to take the land back from the settlers, but that they just wanted to meet them. After a historic gathering, the group signed a memorandum that would mark an ongoing relationship and a commitment to working for land justice.

Since then, the three communities have worked together towards land compensation beginning with a genealogy of the Young Chippewayan First Nation.

After listening to these stories, the walkers left for Stoney Knoll on the outskirts of Laird. This remains a place of worship for the Young Chippewayan First Nation. Later, it became the site of the Lutheran church building, which was eventually moved into Laird. From this place, members of all three communities accompanied the walkers as they took the first steps on their journey to the TRC National Event in Edmonton.

Laurens Thiessen van Esch (Walker)

 

St. John Lutheran Church 

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STONEY KNOLL

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Stoney Knoll Trailer

March 7th – Muskeg Lake Survivors Gathering – Saskatoon

On Friday, March 7th, the group of walkers and some members from Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan were invited to a closed family gathering on Residential Schools by the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. It was a privilege to be included in this circle and to begin our journey by hearing first-hand stories from those who been through the residential school system and continue to live with the impacts of these schools on their lives and their community. The government-run, church-sponsored schools were responsible for horrible abuses that have brought many challenges to Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. Over the course of this day our group witnessed a profound sense of vulnerability and resilience from the Muskeg Lake community. We were deeply moved by their humour, creativity and courage. This was an important way to begin our journey and we are deeply grateful for their invitation to be part of this gathering. Thank you Muskeg Lake.

Brad L

(Walker)

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Winnipeg Events

Settlers in Solidarity: Understanding Residential Schools

In partnership with the Honour Walk for Residential School Survivors***, we are coordinating a series of lunch-hour events in understanding residential schools.

We will be exploring stories of residential school survivors, the church’s role, and it’s ongoing impact on both Indigenous peoples and the church. We will also engage in Indigenous strength and paths for healing and reconciliation, through a series of workshops, participatory exercises, and storytelling.

Where: Canadian Mennonite University, South Campus (600 Shaftesbury Blvd,Winnipeg)

The week’s events will include:

Mon, Mar 17, 9:15pm (South, D33) – “We Were Children” Documentary Night
-this film powerfully narrates two residential school survivors’ stories, and their deep strength and resiliency.

Tue, Mar 18, 12-1pm (Conference Room) – The Blanket Exercise
-a participatory exercise that walks us through the history of relationships between Indigenous and Settler peoples in Canada, a history very few have learned. It is sure to shed new light on your understanding of colonialism, Indigenous experiences, and the church’s role in this history.

Wed, Mar 19, 12-1pm (Conference Room) – Story Circle
-a time of storytelling, reflections, and remembrance for Residential School survivors

Thurs, Mar 20, 12-1pm (Conference Room) – Sharing Lunch, and listening to Ray Mason, a school survivor and active participant in the initiatives that brought the Residential School Cause (and the on-going Day School Cause) to the Supreme Court of Canada.

***On March 8th, 2014, a few walkers will take a 500KM (3-week) pilgrimage from Stoney Knoll Saskatchewan to Edmonton, Alberta to honour the stories of Residential School Survivors and attend the final Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the end of March. (see http://www.honourwalk.ca/) Some of us will also be fasting in solidarity with the walkers, and participants are invited to fast from lunch during this week. That being said, this week’s events are open to anyone regardless if they are student or non-student, fasting or not-fasting, Settler or Indigenous.

Join the facebook group for ongoing updates! Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1428723067366123/?ref_dashboard_filter=calendar

Brought to you by Peace and Sustainability (PSUS) and Building Settler-Indigenous Solidarity (Student Christian Movement MB)

Posted by Brandi Friesen Thorpe, Faster in Winnipeg

Winnipeg Send-off – Thursday, March 6th

It was a cold and snowy start to our 6km send-off that began at Canadian Mennonite University. After a prayer and commission, we began a local walk with a group of 15 students joined by a professor and a few others community members. We were very appreciative of this act of solidarity with the walkers and to honour the stories of residential school survivors. When we reached the edge of the city at the perimeter highway, the group parted ways with a blessing and goodbye. A number of the students who joined for the 6km walk will meet back up with us four walkers in Edmonton to attend the Truth and Reconciliation Commission event held on March
27-30th.

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Honour Walk

On March 8th, 2014, a few walkers will take a 500KM trek from Stoney Knoll Saskatchewan to Edmonton, Alberta to honour the stories of Residential School Survivors. This blog will be an opportunity for walkers to publicly journal about their learning’s and experiences.